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NEON GENESIS EVANGELION is the first extended comic work of studio Gainax cofounder, character designer and key animator Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE, NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER). Previously, Sadamoto's longest professional manga had been ROUTE 20, serialized in NEWTYPE between December of 1991 and April of 1992 (but never collected), a 63-page story based on a never-produced anime concept Sadamoto developed with fellow Gainax member Mahiro Maeda. 

During 1994 and 1995 Yoshiyuki Sadamoto developed the EVANGELION story together with anime director Hideaki Anno, reprising the partnership they had shared on NADIA. The first installment of the NEON GENESIS EVANGELION manga appeared in the February 1995 issue of the Kadokawa monthly SHONEN ACE, and had been running for a good eight months before the TV show premiered on 4 October of that year. Just as the EVA anime is unmistakably the statement of Anno, the EVA manga is Sadamoto's own interpretation of the basic story. Like the anime show itself, which routinely swept Japanese fan awards such as Animage's Grand Prix, the EVANGELION manga was the 1996 winner of Japanese manga-focus magazine COMICKERS' fan poll for best manga. 

The EVANGELION manga is therefore more than simply the anime in comic form. Although the basic events of each anime episode occur in the EVA manga, the way individual scenes unfold is often quite different from how things happen in the TV show, with the characters present, their dialogue, and course of action all being factors that may vary. The upshot of this is that every installment of the manga will have surprises in store, even if you've already seen the corresponding anime. If you haven't seen the anime yet, you'll soon certainly want to.... 

In the first installment of the manga, for example, before Shinji even arrives at NERV headquarters, Rei engages the Third Angel, using the Eva Unit-01 that will later become Shinji's to pilot. You won't find this incident in the first episode of the EVA anime. Shinji, our protagonist, also displays a subtle shift in character. He is somewhat less withdrawn in his actions than in the anime, yet more openly cynical about the results of action. Compare Shinji's remark to Misato about NERV's purpose as they enter its headquarters; he says it in a neutral manner in the anime—but in a markedly sarcastic tone in the manga. And check out the '`institutionalized''-esque essay with which Shinji opens the story.... 

In the end, how will the EVA manga compare to the anime what will Sadamoto emphasize how will he diverge in his treatment of the most talked-about title in years? That's for readers of Viz Comics' release of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION to discover and delight over. And for the first time with EVA, Viz offers the fans, in simultaneous release, a mange in both the standard "flopped" left-to right format, and a special "Collectors' Edition," with variant cover, that presents the EVA manga with its art and sound effects unreversed, exactly as Sadamoto drew it and as his Japanese audience read it. Each will be translated—but how you wish to view the artwork is your choice. 

In March '98 Viz Comics proudly presents Neon Genesis Evangelion: Book Two, the continuation of the smash hit comic series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto! Japan's biggest combination anime and manga hit of the last five years, as seen on U.S. home video from A.D.V. Films, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a surprising, controversial and powerfully psychological science fiction series which takes the familiar 'giant robot' genre into territory never seen before. 

The year is 2015. The twentieth century nearly ended with a millennial last judgment, when, the history books say, a meteor accelerated to relativistic speeds struck Antarctica in the event known as the “Second Impact,” after the strike from space thought to have killed the dinosaurs millions of years before. The catastrophe wobbled the Earth’s axis and melted the polar cap, flooding coastlines and causing climactic change that killed half the human race within a year.… 

A decade-and-a-half after that disaster, the human race has made a semblance of recovery, but the reality is that the peace is no more true than the story that it was a meteor which caused the Second Impact. The inquest into the truth, and the end of our brief respite, will occur in EVANGELION’s main setting: Tokyo-3, an artificial construct of a city built on Lake Ashino in the Hakone region of Japan. With its laundromats, schools, subways, and convenience stores, it’s like any other town—except that its skyscrapers can be retracted below ground, and beneath that surface is the super-technological “Geo-Front” headquarters of NERV, a secret organization nominally under the United Nations. In reality, Tokyo-3 was constructed as both a fortress and a trap for an incredible adversary whose very existence is unknown to the general public. 

But not for long. The “Angels” are coming to Tokyo-3: solitary, immensely powerful beings of variable size, shape, and weaponry. Their motives and origin remain completely unknown at the beginning of the series to all but a few, and those who do know, aren’t talking, engaged in a power struggle over the incredible secrets of the human past surrounding the Angels, and the incredible promise of the human future offered by the mysterious “Instrumentality Project” which NERV labors to complete while fending of the ever more insidious penetration of the Angels, who learn from every attack. In the very first episode, a desperate UN military learns that even a tactical nuke will only slow an Angel down; the beings are possessed of an “A.T. Field,” named for the “absolute terror” it inspires, that renders them nigh-invulnerable. 

NERV, long anticipating the Angels’ attack, has developed the only weapon that might be useful against them: a humanoid bio-mecha, the Evangelion, which can generate its own A.T. Field, which, canceling that of the Angel, allows them to close in for brutal hand-to-hand combat. The Eva Units contain strictly limited internal power (in fact, at first they run off extension cords), and their combat strategy is centered around confronting the Angels as they come into Tokyo-3, whose massive elevators, power cables, and weapons caches are all designed to support the Eva. The three Eva units, however, can only be piloted by certain 14-year-olds, known formally as the “Children,” who can “synch” with them, although what qualifies any particular Child to do so also remains unknown.… 
The “Third Child” to be identified as possible pilot for one of the Evangelion units, Shinji is also the son of NERV’s Supreme Commander, Gendo Ikari. Never close to his father, Shinji’s barely-submerged hatred for him hides an even deeper desire for acceptance. Having lived alone for the past several years, Shinji has a great deal of trouble making friends. Though he seems in no way qualified or of the proper temperament to be sent into combat, he agrees to pilot the experimental Eva Unit-01.
The 48-year-old Supreme Commander of NERV, and the guiding force behind both the development of the Evangelion and the even more obscure Instrumentality Project. A man respected more than liked, Gendo has supreme confidence and a hidden agenda—he seems to enjoy knowing what others don’t, and has little patience for the weakness of his son, at times regarding him with an almost smirking contempt.
The 29-year-old operations chief of NERV. Like Shinji, Misato is afraid of getting too close to people, but she masks this behind an outgoing and optimistic personality. A slob and a drunk in her private life, she is resourceful and courageous on the job. At the time of the Second Impact, Misato and her generation were the same age as the Children are now, and the effects of the impact have had lasting repercussions on their lives.… 
A 30-year-old polymath genius and head of the Evangelion Development Project, Dr. Akagi has been friends with Misato since their school days. Though cooler in temper than Misato, her desk is nevertheless filled with overflowing ashtrays and empty coffee cups. Her job demands that she help the children develop as Eva pilots, but she can do little for their emotional needs.
An American citizen of mixed German-Japanese ancestry, Asuka is the “Second Child,” and the only one of the Children who seems to actively enjoy her work. A flirt and a braggart, and, like just about everyone else in EVA, orbiting around her own personal dark star. Look out for her first appearance in episode eight.
The “First Child” to be identified, Rei has undergone training since the beginning of the project and pilots the Eva Unit-00. Albino in appearance and nearly uncommunicative, she seems to exist inside a deep pool, yet is dedicated to her job and admires—or even loves, Gendo. At the beginning of the series, she is recuperating from serious injuries received in a test accident.
Sub-commander of NERV; Gendo's deputy and confidant.  A professor in Kyoto before the Second Impact, he and Gendo go far back.  Although not by nature the cold man his partner is, Fuyutsuki, like so many others at NERV, is drawn to Gendo's dark charisma, intelligence and vision, serving him faithfully—but not unquestioningly. Fuyutsuki is about 60 years old.

In an unprecedented move for manga in English, Neon Genesis Evangelion is being offered in two special monthly formats: regular, reading from left to right; and Neon Genesis Evangelion Special Collector's Edition, printed from right to left with original sound effects, exactly as first published in Japan. Comic connoisseurs have for years requested 'unflipped' manga in the original Japanese format, and now Viz Comics answers the demand. Both editions feature letter columns, fan art and background information on the series. Certain issues of Neon Genesis Evangelion also include full-color pages showcasing Sadamoto's lush watercolor artwork. 

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Book Two, a five-issue monthly series, is written and drawn by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto from an original concept by Gainax. Issue #1 is 48 pages long and retails for $3.50 in the U.S. and $4.75 in Canada. Issue #2 is 40 pages long with four full-color pages and retails for $3.25 in the U.S. and $4.40 in Canada. Issues #3-5 are 32 pages long and retail for $2.95 in the U.S. and $4.00 in Canada. 

The first Neon Genesis Evangelion Graphic Novel will be available later this year.  Please keep checking for the latest information on the Viz-In page! 

A.D.V. Films is releasing Neon Genesis Evangelion on video.  All the videos are available through Viz Shop-By-Mail and the J-POP Mall

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